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Dr Michael Squire

Professor Michael Squire

Dr Michael SquireProfessor of Classical Art

Tel +44 (0)20 7848 2212
Address Room C8

Department of Classics
King's College London
London WC2R 2LS



Michael’s first degree was in Classics, his MPhil in Classical Archaeology (both at Trinity College, Cambridge). After a year as Frank Knox Memorial Fellow at Harvard, specializing in Comparative Literature, he returned to Cambridge and completed a PhD on theories of word and image in Graeco-Roman antiquity (2006). Before joining the Department of Classics at King’s in 2011, Michael was a Junior Research Fellow at Christ’s College Cambridge, and concurrently held an Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung Fellowship at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich and the Winckelmann-Institut für Klassische Archäologie, Humboldt-Universtität zu Berlin.

Michael was elected to the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin in 2012, and was awarded a Philip Leverhulme Prize for his research into Classics and Art History. Michael has held recent fellowships and visiting appointments at Cologne, Munich, Stanford and at the Max-Planck Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschicthe in Berlin; he holds both British and German citizenship.

Since 2017 Michael has led a Departmental research project on ‘Modern Classicisms’, resulting in a major exhibition on The Classical Now (in Bush House Arcade and Somerset House, 2 March – 28 April 2018).

Michael can be found on by following this link.

Research interests
  • Graeco-Roman visual culture
  • Representations of the body in Greek and Roman art
  • Ecphrasis and visual-verbal relations
  • Early Christian art and theology
  • History of aesthetics (especially in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Germany)
  • The cultural history of ornament
  • Philostratus’ Imagines
  • The classical tradition and the reception of Greek and Roman art

Michael is particularly interested in supervising PhD students in the following areas:

  • Greek and Roman sculpture, painting and other arts
  • The history of aesthetics
  • Literary traditions of ecphrasis
  • Visual representations of Homeric epic
  • Collecting art in the Hellenic and Roman worlds 

For more details, please see my full research profile.

Selected publications
  • Panorama of the Classical World (with Nigel Spivey; Thames and Hudson, 2nd ed. 2008)
  • Image and Text in Graeco-Roman Antiquity (Cambridge University Press, 2009)
  • The Art of Art History in Graeco-Roman Antiquity (edited with Verity Platt; 2010 = Arethusa 43.2)
  • The Art of the Body: Antiquity and its Legacy (Oxford University Press / I. B. Tauris, 2011)    
  • The Iliad in a Nutshell: Visualizing Epic on the Tabulae Iliacae (Oxford University Press, 2011)
  • Sight and the Ancient Senses (Routledge, 2016)
  • The Frame in Classical Art: A Cultural History (edited with Verity Platt; Cambridge, 2017)
  • Morphogrammata: The Lettered Art of Optatian. Figuring Cultural Transformations in the Age of Constantine (edited with Johannes Wienand; W. Fink, 2017)
  • Rethinking Lessing’s Laocoon: Antiquity, Enlightenment, and the ‘Limits’ of Painting and Poetry (edited with Avi Lifschitz; Oxford University Press, 2017)
  • Ornament and Figure in Graeco-Roman Art: Rethinking Visual Ontologies in Classical Antiquity (edited with Nikolaus Dietrich; De Gruyter, 2018)
  • The Art of Hegel’s Aesthetics: Hegelian Philosophy and the Perspectives of Art History (edited with Paul Kottman; W. Fink, 2018)
  • The Embodied Object in Classical Antiquity (edited with Milette Gaifman & Verity Platt; 2018; = Art History 40.3)
  • The Classical Now (edited with James Cahill & Ruth Allen; Elephant, 2018)

For a complete list of my publications, please see my research profile.

I can also be found on by following this link.


I teach a variety of topics relating to the visual, material and literary cultures of the Graeco-Roman world. In addition to more introductory modules, I teach medium-specific courses (for example on Greek sculpture and Attic vase-painting), as well as thematic modules (for example on the human figure in Classical art and the origins of Christian art). I also lead a graduate course on 'words and pictures'. My teaching places special emphasis on on-site visits: in recent years I have led student trips not only to collections in London and the UK, but also to France, Germany, Greece and Italy. Thanks to the Rumble Fund in the Department of Classics, these trips are now offered to King's students on a fully subsidised basis.

Expertise and public engagement

Michael sits on a number of editorial boards in Classics, Art History and Aesthetics, and is editor of book series on ‘Greek Culture in the Roman World’ (Cambridge University Press) and ‘Image, Text and Culture in Classical Antiquity’ (Routledge). He is a regular external assessor for research project proposals, both in the UK and internationally (e.g. AHRC, British Academy, ERC, FWF in Austria and SSHRC in Canada).

Michael is an accredited lecturer of The Arts Society, and has contributed to programmes on BBC Radio 4, BBC television, BBC World Service and ABC in Australia. His recent project on ‘Modern Classicisms’ has attracted particular media attention since its launch in 2017.



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